Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: The "Luther Burger," a bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut bun, is a real food named after R&B singer Luther Vandross.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2005]
Origins: Some of us older folks can recall a time when not only could we eat anything we wanted without receiving stern warnings from well-meaning friends and relatives about the health risks associated with our favorite foods, but many of the items we're now advised to eliminate or reduce in our diets (e.g., red meat, eggs, milk, butter, cheese) were even said to be good for us! Alas, now medical concerns over cholesterol and fats and just about any oily, greasy, or fried foods have put the kibosh on a number of treats we once consumed with impunity.
Perhaps nothing has better satirized our cultural culinary dichotomy
Although most of us may not be quite the epicurean horror symbolized by Homer Simpson, the development of the health food movement has led to a form of sardonic counter-protest: it has now become a matter of pride in some circles to try to find and consume the most unhealthful delicacy imaginable, to gorge on something laden with all the things we're supposed to cut out of our diets for the sake of our health (not to mention our waistlines). The classic example of this sort of "bad food" is, of course, the deep-fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches which were a favorite of singer Elvis Presley (and which are widely considered to have been a primary source of the obesity that plagued him in his later years, if not a contributory factor in his early death). Many of our artery-clogging "danger" foods, like the aforementioned Elvis speciality, are typically associated with the southern United States due to a variety of factors:
Much of the South's traditional foods date back to the days of slavery. Frying was preferable in the region's hot climate, since it didn't take as long as baking and didn't heat up a house as much. Plus, workers didn't have all day to prepare meals; they had to get back into the fields to work. Lard was also plentiful. Today, frying still is popular, especially in poor areas of the South, because it is also inexpensive.Even though the "Good Morning Burger" described above is nothing more a bit of humorous fiction, we have come across a menu item that just may top it. Mulligan's, a suburban bar in Decatur, Georgia, serves a dish they call the "Hamdog": a hot dog wrapped in a beef patty that's deep fried, covered with chili, cheese and onions, and served on a hoagie bun topped with a fried egg and two fistfuls of fries. (As Nicholas Lang, a professor of surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, told an Associated Press reporter, "If you choke [a Hamdog] down, you might as well find a heart surgeon because you are going to need one.") It's one of Mulligan's other repasts, however, that may represent the ultimate in nutritive decadence through its combining greasy, cholesterol-stuffed meats with a sweet, fatty, deep-fried treat: the "Luther Burger," a bacon cheeseburger served on a Krispy Kreme doughnut bun.
Why the "Luther
Last updated: 3 March 2005
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